Demand Generation Strategy in 2023: An Overview
As a digital marketing agency, we witness first-hand how challenging demand generation can be for businesses operating in crowded industries. Many fail to create a system that grows MQLs consistently without having to be redone every few years. The key to long-term sustainability in demand gen is good strategy.
This guide outlines the four stages of an effective demand generation strategy:
- Create Detailed Customer Personas
- Make A Content Generation Plan
- Develop Thought-Leading Content
- Measure Results With Appropriate KPIs
Create Detailed Customer Personas
Creating personas (or profiles) of existing and potential customers is a crucial first step in the demand generation process. Personas help identify customer needs, pain points, and long-term goals, and allow you to tailor your strategies to more accurately speak to your customers’ concerns.
Proposing the following questions to customers can help you develop accurate profiles:
- What kind of content speaks to your needs when you read a blog or website?
- Do you have a lot of confidence in your ability to change directions?
- Where did you learn about our products?
- What made you pick our products over others?
- What problems do our products help you solve?
The more comprehensive the customer inquiry, the better you can adapt your marketing plan and content to resonate with prospects.
Make a Content Generation Plan
The next step is to turn these more general considerations into a concrete demand generation strategy, starting with SEO, and therefore, content. There are several reasons to use SEO as the “seed” of your content generation effort:
- SEO is the highest ROI channel used in demand generation. SEO, when executed correctly, will generate more demand at a lower CAC over the long term than other demand generation channels. Therefore, it’s a good avenue to focus on first anyway.
- Content can be reused in all areas of your demand generation strategy. SEO necessitates excellent content, which is a better starting point for repurposing on other channels than shorter, more specific content like ad copy, social media blurbs, or e-mail messages. Whereas SEO content can be translated to the other marketing mediums in a short period of time, the reverse isn’t true. A healthy demand gen strategy repurposes its content on SEO, e-mail, LinkedIn, and webinars.
Next, let’s talk about how to use SEO as the starting point for developing demand generation content. Typically, an SEO plan is organized within an Editorial Calendar that lists content pages in order of their value for demand gen. Each content page is assigned a target keyword and given a “home” in the website’s sitemap.
Your Editorial Calendar utilizes a keyword strategy that identifies keyword “hubs” that define the general categories of keywords that prospects are most likely to search. These hubs act as a bridge connecting visitors to your website. They pair with spokes, which are pages typically targeting long-tail, transactional keywords around specific products or services. Your writers will incorporate these spoke keywords into the titles of your landing pages and blogs.
After identifying your hub and spoke keywords, the next step is to connect each of those keywords to the search intent of the personas searching them. Doing so will provide the framework for creating genuinely useful, engaging content.
Develop Thought-Leading Content
Most demand generation content is run-of-the-mill digital marketing content that your customers have seen hundreds of times before. To actually make an impression and convert visitors to leads, you’ll need to invest in creating actual thought leadership, and tailor it for each stage of the digital marketing funnel. Here’s how.
1. Take Care of Your Reader
When a visitor clicks on your content, they agree to interact with your brand. To preserve their interest, you’ll need to incorporate to-the-point and straightforward textual navigation, including a clear path to your destination and an explanation as to how and why you got there.
Clearing this path begins with the article’s introduction, which is crucial for grabbing the visitor and convincing them to read your content. Begin with an original insight that speaks directly to the pain points that you previously identified, and use the following format:
- Context. What events prompted you to create this article?
- Thesis. What is the main point or conclusion of your paper?
- Orientation. What exactly are you going to do in this post, and how will you do it?
You might also incorporate a bullet-point breakdown of the article’s main topics and reading time estimate at the onset. These figures give the reader a sense of the blog’s intent and the time necessary to review it.
2. Stimulate Your Reader’s Mind
People frequently express themselves in similar ways by utilizing popular (and overused) terminology. As a result, most online information is overly familiar and potentially dull to the reader. Rather than signaling value, this instead tells readers that they have little to learn from the page they’re on, causing them to immediately click off.
To address the challenge of over-familiarity, you might consider advanced tactics such as the following:
- Skimmable lists. Calling out the most important and relevant information helps readers quickly find the information they need.
- Statistics that are interesting and specific. Providing analysis or proprietary statistics helps contextualize your information.
- Simple graphs, tables, and charts. These visual elements are information dense and signal to readers that your content is valuable.
3. Conclude With Practical Next Steps
When a reader has a pain point they’re trying to solve, they want to know exactly how to solve it. Tell them exactly what they need to do, and avoid telling them “it depends” without diving into exactly what to do in each situation they might find themselves in.
This extends to your CTA. If your visitor remains engaged after reading the content, they’ll be interested in two more items: (1) Information on how they may learn more about the topic; and (2) Next steps if they choose to work with your business. Be sure to include clear and precise instructions on how the reader can do both.
Measure Results With Appropriate KPIs
Once you’ve incorporated a strategy and identified your channels, tracking KPIs will allow you to measure the results of your demand generation campaign and determine if you’ve been successful. The best KPIs to use for demand generation are:
|KPI||Description||How to Optimize|
|Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)||Total marketing cost divided by the number of new customers acquired.||Invest in low CAC organic channels such as SEO and LinkedIn.|
|Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)||The total revenue a customer generates over their lifetime of doing business with your company.||Better customer targeting aimed at high LTV groups will help attract more valuable customers.|
|Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate||How many of your website visitors convert to leads||Improve UX and conversion optimization.|
|Lead to MQL Conversion Rate||How well visitors travel through the conversion funnel.||Improve customer targeting and invest in lead-nurturing channels like email campaigns.|
|Closed Sale Percentage||Percentage of sales team quotes vs. the number of closed deals.||Invest in lead nurturing and sales enablement content to improve your close rates.|
|ROI||Provides a high-level view of net profit versus marketing campaign costs.||Look to the above KPIs for guidance, or consider working with outsourced demand generation agencies to boost ROI.|
Implementing Your Demand Generation Strategy
If you follow the four steps outlined above, you can create a successful campaign that will help you attract and retain the right customers. Expanding your company and generating consistent, long-term revenue begins with a demand generation strategy that attracts the most interested clients in your goods and services.
You can also choose to outsource your demand generation program to an experienced agency. Contact us here if you’d like to talk about forming a partnership.
Evan Bailyn is a bestselling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.